Stew Smith is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness and self defense books such as The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, and Maximum Fitness. As a military fitness trainer, Stew has trained hundreds of students for Navy SEAL, Special Forces, Air Force PJ, Ranger Training, and other physical law enforcement professions. His eBooks at Military.com can help you achieve your fitness goals, whether you're a beginner or an expert. For more info on his books, visit the Military.com eBook Fitness Store.
The last three weeks have focused on the United States military special operations entities. This week, we focus on the United States Marine Corps version of Special Operations Capable (SOC) forces – The RECON Marine.
There are two types of RECON Marines: "Battalion" & "Force" RECON
The training paths for Marines in both RECON units are similar. The RECON Marine’s advanced training focuses on a platoon's likely missions while deployed, so Battalion and Force RECON Marines basically differ only in who their boss is - either the Battalion Commander or the Task Force Commander.
Initial training consists of Marine Recruit Training, and the School of Infantry which is the standard training where EVERY Marine learns to be a rifleman. Recently, changes in recruiting have enabled young recruits with little experience to attend the RECON Indoctrination Program (RIP). Students with the MOS 0321 RECON Marine are then assigned to the Basic Recon Course (BRC). The new Marine will be placed in BRC with Marines with several years experience as well. But upon successful completion of the BRC, all Marines report to their assigned recon unit & receive various professional, technical and tactical training. Ask your recruiter about the RECON MOS Option if interested in becoming a RECON Marine.
Marine Recon INDOC
1st Force Recon's current "indoc" or RIP is a 48 hr. evolution. Previously, in order to even get invited to attend the indoctrination course, you must have between 3-4 years of experience in the field and should be scoring at least 285 on the Marine Corp PFT: As with any Special Operation units, you must be a stellar Marine with a near flawless record. Recently, the new program mentioned above will allow highly motivated new recruits a chance to attend RIP. As long as they are physically above average and are able to reach the scores above (275 enlisted – 285 officer) they can attend after bootcamp. Below scores represent a perfect 300 on the USMC PFT:
You will be required to perform two obstacle courses in under 2:00 each time, swim 500 meters in full cammies in 17:00, and other fun water activities. 10 mile ruck with 50lbs pack in under 2 hours is also graded.
It helps to prepare months in advance with swimming at least 4-5 times a week. Wear cammies and fins at least once a week too. Minimum swim practice time should be an hour daily.
You will also be required to perform what is called a Level Test which is:
Max Push ups 2min.
Max Sit ups 2min.
Max Pull ups 2min.
Max Flutter Kicks 2min.
Max 8 Count pushups in 2:00
Max scissors in 2:00
Your calisthenics workouts should consist of the above exercises performed every other day for a total of 3-4 times per week. The day of PT rest will help your muscles recover and be able to gain more reps in two minutes. Also practice perfect form but do each of the exercises as fast as you can. Speed and endurance is your goal.
Running is also a major part of INDOC. You should run at least 4-5 times per week and perform a rucksack run once a week in order to prepare for the following:
Forced March (or "Hump") for 20 miles @ 4-5mph
Rucksack Run 3-4 miles timed (with 50 lb)
After repeating the Marine PFT again you get to interview with the Team Leader and Company CO/XO. You may physically make it but still not get selected. Usually, it is attitude and teamwork difficulties that get you rejected at this phase of INDOC.
Once selected, the Marines are assigned Recon Indoctrination Platoon. This is similar to going back to bootcamp. The Marines have only supervised liberty, physical training and classes at all time of the day and night at the Amphibious Reconnaissance School (ARS) in Little Creek, VA or Coronado, CA. Once the Marine finishes ARS, he is a Reconnaissance Marine.
Check out the new Military.com Fitness eBook store for more information on specially designed fitness programs to ace any Special Operations School.
Also – feel free to email author Stew Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and he may place your question as the focus of next week’s article.